Thursday, May 6, 2010

Moving On

A comment left in the last blog entry mentioned that the MSD Decatur Township Central Office threw themselves a celebration yesterday. Well, I can tell you that the community is not celebrating. These folks who come here to work at wages higher than the Mayor, the Governor, Senators, Congressmen, and in some cases, the President of the United States, with the exception of one administrator, do not wish to actually live within the community that pays their stupendous salaries. Again with the exception of one administrator, they do not wish to educate their children in the very schools they pretend have improved substantially and with which they want our community's parents to be satisfied.

The information posted on this blog is from public documents from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana State Board of Accounts, and even from the MSD Decatur Township, itself. The truth is that this Board and Administration have dug us into a financial hole due to their buying and spending spree. The truth is that this Board and Administration have not improved education in our schools, and the data suggests that our district has slid downward over the same years that the state averages have climbed upward.

This information needs to be seen by more of our community, and over time that will happen. Further information will continue to be posted here.

Parents will soon find out what schools their children will attend in the fall. Next school year, transportation will be a nightmare. Next year, because of this Board and this Administration's profligate spending, and its application of a budget cutting plan that impacts the classroom first and hardest of all, class sizes will rise - the very worst thing you can do because of its effect on education. The next worst thing you can do is bar elementary children from attending their neighborhood school - which is going to happen on a large scale.

And, right now, bus drivers are being badly treated, teachers are needlessly being laid off with little chance of getting another teaching job in this economic climate, closing down the security department is back on the table, and the custodians continue to be mistreated. The folks with the huge salaries, the administrators, have taken a tiny tiny hit in number of positions lost and salary reduction. The further you get from the classroom, the smaller the impact of the budget cuts - the plan is to make the cuts as painful to the community as possible and as pain free to the Central Office as possible.

Right is right and wrong is wrong. They will continue to spread lies about anyone who dares challenge them. They will threaten the job of any employee who steps out of line.

The election gave us all a surprise ending. Today we pick up, dust off, and move on from that focal point. But, this blog will continue to post the facts about the Decatur School District and the caliber of jobs the Board and Administration are really doing.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

What goes around, comes around. Stinson and his cronies will get their dues. We must continue to report on all ill matters. We the Taxpayers must get what We pay for, they are stealing from us.
We must call,write, email our legislators to make laws to put caps on these ridiculous salaries and perks.

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget that they will be cutting security and the Chief of the Decatur School Police is the lowest paid supervisor. To me safety is most important as well as education. In today's society we have no idea what crazy person will come into our lives and cause tremendous tragedy. Our school police work very hard and get very little gratitude from the Central Office. True the same people are on the board but maybe a message has been sent and they will be more responsible with their actions.

Anonymous said...

Without School Police protection, our kids will be at high risk to dangerous situations. We live in a world were lives have been lost, there have been numerous school shootings across the Country in the past such as the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and we must not forget 9/11. The threats we face are real and have deadly consequences if there are no protection from bomb threats, lone gunmen,and terrorists. The School Police are our best defense against these threats. School Police Officers are highly vigilant, the best qualified in their training to handle and understand the threats that We and our children face in our schools.

Anonymous said...

Although we do need security we need a Chief who knows what to do and don't cover up their mistakes first. Security is a vital part of protecting our children in our schools and all the cameras in the schools are not making them anymore secure. Moving on we all need to work together and get our children the best education that we can by staying on top of what is happening if you disagree with something that is happening at school with your child or relative be persistant until you get what your child needs. That means if you don't get the right answers in the township go to the next level. Everybody complains about government alot but use that accountability to get your child the proper education. Yes it is a struggle I've been there but it works. One of the biggest problems in our education system is not being accountable for the education our children receive. Everybody feared no child left behind but it has its good points because accountablity is now being pushed in the school systems. I know we have some great teachers here but we also have some that aren't doing their jobs along with the administration. But the ones doing everything they can get shoved to the side and we end up with low standards. Like our administration who continue to spend money instead of fixing the problems in front of them including themselves. There is no reason for our school district to be in this situation if the board and the administration did the right thing. Think about it some of the money that stinson get to claim as income to increase his base pay for retirement and make a million dollars of the backs of our children, the average person would have to pay penalties. The average person with a job has to be accountable for his actions but not in the school districts case. So start holding them accountable whenever you get a chance.

Anonymous said...

So much negativity on this blog! It's depressing. Could we include items Decatur has done right?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:21
Go ahead and start listing some of the postive things. I would love to see what has been done right!

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 2:21 and anon 2:39 -- focusing on the 'good things' is like concentrating on how neatly the deck chairs were stacked on the Titanic. Besides, that is all the Board and Administration want to think about and for the public to know about. It's their poor judgment and poor ability that has gotten us into this financial mess and that needs to be talked about.

Anonymous said...

Yes, too much negativity. I can list a positiive. Thank you to the teachers who go that extra mile for our children!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:39: to go a Board Meeting and hear the DC accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

This blog is exceedingly negative and NEVER mentions the DEA. Why so?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:57

Disagree. Many, many times this blog has stressed the importance of class size in student learning. Pat has very accurately reported data in support of stopping the riffing of teachers during the resolution of this financial mess. This blog has stressed the importance of bus drivers, custodians, and secretaries for the support of student learning. Only those who are "pocketing" the dollars have attacked this blog - understand that they are defensive and might even be embarassed by much of the data. Are they sorry? Will they immediately take steps to correct their errors? There is much to be done and continued research of the errors. Just because the election is now past does not mean that further mismanagement of public funds and further poor student achievement results will be silently accepted.

Anonymous said...

Gary Pellico is in charge of spreading sunshine. Stinson is in charge of holding people accountable. but he wont do it and he won't let principals do it either.

Anonymous said...

The DEA has been mentioned here, at least by the commenters. But if you want to hear DEA and positive in the same sentence...don't hold you're breath.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain this?

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20105060386

Let me get this straight....we got rid of a charter school (DDA) because it wasn't working. " is for the new school to move into space that currently houses the Decatur Discovery Academy Charter School, which is in the same building as the Indianapolis Challenger Learning Center."

I thought we were getting RID of that space to save money??

How many kids in Decatur Township will be helped by an aviation school!!!!!!!????????

What is it with this Board and Administration and Ameriplex!?

Why didn't we (taxpayers) hear about this charter school? According to the Star, they're voting on it at the next meeting!

Were they waiting on the election to be over with to ram this through?

Sigh...another multi-million dollar charter school that will end up failing.

It's going to be a long couple of years before the next election!

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 8:14 - good catch. I'll post as an entry. You are right on the money - what do these folks use for brains?

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 8:14 - although the article is not entirely clear, it appears as though this new charter school will not be affiliated with MSD Decatur. The Board might have to vote to sublet the space where the DDA is now located, since the district is stuck with the lease of the Mitchell building until 2013. I'll do some more checking. If it is not affiliated with the Administrators and Board of Decatur schools, it has a chance to succeed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the site for Decatur has changed and now you cannot fine agendas for board meetings? The minutes for 2010 are there (not previous years) but no agendas????????????? Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

as an involved parent in Decatur, I have to say that you are focusing on the negative in the school district, but you have not noted that most school districts in Indiana and other states are experiencing the same problems. Income for state and federal sources have decreased...maybe you should focus some of the blame on other levels of government and the economy....stop placing the blame on administrators that are trying their best to give our kids a good education with limited funding.

Anonymous said...

the board minutes are not hiding...go to District Information, then School Board, then meetings...I found them quickly.

Anonymous said...

agendas and minutes are on the same page

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 10:05 - if you care to read the volumes of information - or just the referenced State documents - on this blog, you will conclude that the bulk of the financial mess we are in is due to the buying and spending spree this Administration and School Board have been on.

Yes, all levels of government, including the school districts in Indiana, are facing budget shortfalls and revenue cuts. Unlike the other districts, Decatur has dug most of the hole itself. The state has mandated all of $1.5 million in budget cuts out of the $9.8 million hole we are in.

I prefer to focus on the facts.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 9:30 - you are correct - the agendas are gone and so are all of the minutes from previous years. I can't imagine that the public would want to review the old minutes so it could see for itself how we got into this mess. (that's sarcasm)

If anyone wants the old minutes, I saved them to my hard drive. Just email me and I'll get them to you.

Anonymous said...

If you want this website to be taken seriously, you should not be so one sided and display all information good and bad. You say that the township has dug its own hole. I disagree. The township had a lot of help from funding issues and shortfalls from government funding. PLEASE BE OBJECTIVE. Your points might have a lot more ground to stand on if you would publish the WHOLE picture and not just the points you want people to see. You should concentrate your effort on letting the kids in the school district know that there are parents, teachers, and administrators that care about them and want them to succeed. All of this on here is counter productive and has no positive outcome.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 9:30 - I was incorrect about the old minutes not being posted. They moved them to their own page, which can be accessed via a link on the lower right corner of the 'meetings' page.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 11:10 - I can only assume you haven't taken the time to review the documentation presented here. You are incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:10

More information on the "whole picture" should be placed on the district's website. Community members should be able to view written documents like the personnel recommendations, claims reports, etc. recommended for approval at the board meetings. Other school districts place these action item details on their websites. Times have changed - the community expects this information. Administrators have talked about the cheese moving. The cheese moved and these are legitimate expections not negativity.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:10

Thie website is being taken seriously. Check out investigations by the media! Check out the vote counts for school board in the last election! People want information. Do you have data showing improvement in student achievement when Decatur falls farther and farther behind state averages? Do you have data supporting financial gains in property purchases? What is your data????

Anonymous said...

If you are so unhsppy about how negative this blog is - then don't read it. It's very simple, create your own blog with all positive comments only!!!After all this is a free country. Everyone one should be entitled to their own opinion and if you offended by all of the NEGATIVE blogging that is just too bad!!!

Paul K. Ogden said...

HEI,

Don't take these naysayers seriously. The whole notion that you should focus on the "good" is merely an attempt to divert attention from what needs to be fixed.

It's the same type of tactic when those promoting more reckless borrowing and spending claim they are doing it for the "children." BS. They are doing it for themselves.

Paul K. Ogden said...

HEI,

Don't take these naysayers seriously. The whole notion that you should focus on the "good" is merely an attempt to divert attention from what needs to be fixed.

It's the same type of tactic when those promoting more reckless borrowing and spending claim they are doing it for the "children." BS. They are doing it for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Then why can't this be a blog promoting both negative and positive DC information?

Anonymous said...

The unhappiness and accusations of negativity are probably "connected" with Stinson's attempt to get hired in Alabama (Baldwin County Schools). The first interviews, as reported by the media in Alabama, are next week. Several of the candidates so identified appear to have some strong credentials in raising student achievement and one was quoted by the placement consultants as being a "financial guru." Commenters may want to check out the candidates on the internet. Maybe Stinson things this blog hurts his chances of leaving the financial mess? Interesting that the accusations of negativity are being posted since the election.

Anonymous said...

The following is posted on Indy.com:
Decatur superintendent is among 6 sought by Gulf Coast school district

After a decade on the job, Decatur Township Schools Superintendent Donald Stinson might be heading toward the Gulf Coast.

Baldwin County (Ala.) Public Schools has named Stinson as one of six top candidates to fill its superintendent opening.

“I was contacted by the firm doing the search,” Stinson said. “I am excited and somewhat surprised. At my stage in my career, I know there will be questions as to why. This is a one-time deal. I was not out searching.”

Even though he’s a top candidate, Stinson still has a long way to go before he’d get the call for the job in the growing school district of 27,000 students, which is more than four times the size of Decatur Township’s district of 6,500 students.

It is one of the fastest-growing districts in Alabama with 28 elementary, eight middle and seven high schools as well as two career and technical education centers, said Harold Dodge, a consultant with BWP&Associates in Alabama, and a member of the search committee. The area attracts tourists to its beaches and has high-achieving students with 80 percent of the Class of 2009 attending college, he said.

Two candidates are from Texas and one from Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina. Finalists came from a pool of 31 candidates from 14 states, according to the school district’s website.

Dodge, a former superintendent in a neighboring school district, said all six candidates have strong resumes.

“(Stinson) came highly recommended,” Dodge said.

“Honestly, I couldn’t drop a dime between them,” he added of the candidates. “Some are stronger in finance, like Stinson.”

Another factor that could give him an edge: Decatur Township’s increased focus on project-based learning is a curriculum change the Baldwin County district is trying to make.

Dodge said finalists were chosen on the following criteria: an educational leader with integrity, skilled instructional leader, problem solver, communicator, collaborative leader and effective manager of school finance.

Indiana school districts typically are tight-lipped when conducting a superintendent search, but the Alabama way is much more open, Dodge said.

The six candidates will visit Baldwin County for interviews by mid-May, and the seven-member School Board will choose two or three finalists, Dodge said.

Then Baldwin County representatives will visit the candidates’ school districts and make a decision by early June, with the hope of having a superintendent in place by July 1.

Stinson, 59, grew up in Decatur Township and graduated from Decatur Central. He’s been superintendent for 10 years.

“I’m very proud of what I’ve done in Decatur,” Stinson said. “We’ve worked so hard. I really feel like we’ve changed the culture. I tell the kids they need to earn one more piece of paper after high school, whether it’s a college degree, technical certificate or the armed forces.”

Like Indiana, Alabama schools are facing financial stresses, Stinson said.

Baldwin County has faced $61 million in budget cuts and recently passed a one-cent sales tax increase to offset school funding decreases. It should generate about $25 million a year, said Connie Baggett, a reporter for the Press-Register newspaper.

“Whoever comes here will have a tough situation financially,” Baggett said.

Bloggers have criticized Stinson and the Decatur Township School Board for the way he’s handled finance, and they have been accused of not being open enough with the public.

The township is working to cut about $6.2 million in spending.
.Categories: South Marion County, Marion County, Communities

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 12:59 - this blog "promotes" only accurate information.

We have a serious financial situation that is worse than other districts due to the amount of debt this school board and administration have run up. I have offered a plan that keeps all the teachers (as long as a minimum of 5 retired), all the bus drivers' hours, etc. Personally, I think that is being constructive.

The Administration and the School Board have chosen to keep to their original plan; which at this point has eliminated Lynwood as an Elementary school, RIFed 48 teachers on top of the 23 who chose to retire, and which will increase class size - the single worst thing you can do in education. They also are assigning students from all over the township to all schools throughout the township - so many students will not be able to attend their neighborhood school. These are the choices that the Board and Administration are making. To point these very important decisions out, is neither 'positive' or 'negative', but rather it is to be accurate.

The public has a right to look at these things objectively and to discuss all manner of remedy to these very real problems facing our school district and community. If you would rather not do so, that is your decision.

Anonymous said...

The info quoted in 1:21 p.m. is also on the indystar.com site.

Looks like there could be a "media blitz" and maybe there will soon be reporting of the financial data. At least the superintendent won't be disappointed if he doesn't get the job since he did not seek it but was sought by others to apply!

Anonymous said...

Finally, a quote from Stinson: "I am very proud of what I've done in Decatur." Is he proud of the financial mess? Have to assume he is.

Anonymous said...

The only reason Stinson was looking for a job was because he was afraid of what would happen with the election. It's no secret that a Superintendant will move on if they have what they consider a "hostile" board. He won't be going anywhere for the next couple of years at least. If Huffman and/or Greenwald get elected in 2012, he won't go anyhere for another 4 years and then he'll just retire....a millionaire. LOL so much for helping the "kids".

Anonymous said...

HEI 2:11. Totally agree. Just hope he doesn't "use" this to "up" his contract salary/benefits by having the board say they need to "keep" him in Decatur Township. Don't think he is going anywhere. Don't think Candy, Gary, Dave, Debbie, or Pat is going anywhere. The deals are sweet.

Anonymous said...

HEI 1:45 Pm
This blog promotes only accurate information? Please. This blog promotes rumor. I have read MORE than once on this blog that Justin Dixson is to be the new asst athletic director. I have also read that Chris Duzenbery is going to take Joe Preda's job when they move him to central office. NOTHING about EITHER of those claims is remotely accurate. Perhaps you should speak with Justin Dixson and ask him about his new job as I'm sure he would be HAPPY to have one since he hasn't been called back yet.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 5:13 -- I haven't said Dixson would get the assistant athletic director job. But, only time will tell - the dust hasn't settled on the layoffs and rehires yet. What I reported was that he was on the RIF list and not on the recall list.

As far as the 'Preda goes to CO and Duzenbery gets Preda's slot'... I have a reliable source there. Since the official word from the CO is that there are no open slots in the Administrator ranks, and since you seem to already know about Preda moving over to the CO -- we may have the same source.

But, the musical chairs is corroborated by the fact (provided through a Freedom of Information request of the District) that Duzenbery's position was eliminated, but she was not RIFed as an Administrator -- there are now one too many Administrators for the remaining positions at the High School. You do the math. It supports my source in this matter.

So, we will wait and see.

Anonymous said...

I am actually glad that this is not a Pat Andrews board. Talk about negativity and treading water. Granted there are some things that could be done better and some people that should be gone, most notably one of the administrators that used to be on Perry's school board but, things aren't as bad as they are portrayed in this blog. Most of the RIF'd teachers will be called back now that the teacher's union has gotten off their tush and played ball with the rest of the township. I will bet that "Had Enough Indy" is also blaming George Bush for the recent increase in gas prices or is that caused by the supposed poor judgment of this school board and Mr. Stinson too. This township is not that much different than the surrounding townships and has quite alot in common with them in regards to their financial problems. Are those also the reponsibility of Mr. Stinson. Get a life "Had Enough"

Anonymous said...

You can be sure that Justin Dixson will somehow, someway be back next year??? After all, his grandfather is on the school board.
That is how he got the job in the first place...Duh!!!! It's all about who you know!!

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 10:01 - IF you are interested in facts, then you will indeed find that Decatur School District is very different from the other school districts in Marion County. Again, IF you are interested in facts, see: "Crushing Debt at MSD Decatur Township" http://hadenoughindy.blogspot.com/2010/04/crushing-debt-at-msd-decatur-township.html

Anonymous said...

May 6, 2010 2:21 PM

I would love to see anything Decatur has done right.

Anonymous said...

as an involved parent in Decatur, I have to say that you are focusing on the negative in the school district, but you have not noted that most school districts in Indiana and other states are experiencing the same problems. Income for state and federal sources have decreased
There's a lot of negative to look at. Don Stinson collects over $250,000 per year for a small district. Incomes have decreased, but other school districts have dealt with it. Decatur school board has continued to increase administrator salaries, knowing that funding has been decreased.
How can anyone defend this frivolous spending?

Anonymous said...

May 7, 2010 11:10 AM

You're an idiot if you refuse to see what's going on

Anonymous said...

Just because they are in the paper does not make them facts Pat. The facts are that you have been a bitter woman since you were booted off the board by the township. You continue to try and insinuate things and cause dissent in any way you can so everybody will be as angry and bitter as you are. If you were interested in facts, this blog would not be the cesspool that it is, causing so much heartache.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 7:04 - what you say is not true, not that it will matter to you. Certainly it is the party line promulgated by Stinson and the Board because they cannot refute the facts put forth here. They are attempting to tarnish me as their only alternative.

Again IF you are interested in the facts documented in reports from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, the Indiana Department of Education, the State Board of Accounts, the School District itself, and (gasp!) news accounts with documentation as well, then read the content here.

I would also put forth, if you care about the people who work for this district, and how they are being treated in your name, you will ask some tough questions of this Administration and not just swallow their story, hook, line, and sinker.

And if you care about the quality of education the children get, again in your name, you will look at the decisions being made in where the cuts are being made, and again ask tough questions.

Otherwise, I doubt your browser is set to open on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5/9 7:04am said...Just because they are in the paper does not make them facts Pat. The facts are that you have been a bitter woman since you were booted off the board by the township. You continue to try and insinuate things and cause dissent in any way you can so everybody will be as angry and bitter as you are. If you were interested in facts, this blog would not be the cesspool that it is, causing so much heartache.

So I assume you're attacking the paper with equal vengeance? The taxpapers of Decatur Township wouldn't have to rely on the media if this district was only as open as other districts.

I wasn't a big fan of Pat Andrews when she was on the school board, but have become one because of the total mismanagement of this board and administration. I have never seen Pat post anything on this blog that smacks of bitterness and I have seen her delete posts that were negative rumor-based attacks on people she attacks with facts.

You call this blog a cesspool. Stinson calls it Jerry Springer.
What is really going on is that Pat and her loyal commenters are stirring around the elephant dung deposited in this district by this
board and administration to let the sun shine in. It will take time and patience, but the seeds of excellence will rise from the years of crap!

Anonymous said...

Thank You Pat for everything you do! I do not have the time to review all the minutes and go to every single meeting. If it was not for this blog and all the addtional comments made I would not know what was going on in Decatur to this degree. I read the blog and then double check the information. I have not found anything yet that you have misreported.
THANK YOU!